X-Men: Legends #1
- Roy Thomas
- Dave Wacher
- VC’s Joe Caramagna
- Cover artist:
- Kaare Andrews
- Release date:
- Edgar Delgado
Lately, Marvel has given creators a chance to delve back into Marvel’s rich history to create continuity stories set in the past. Earlier this summer, Chris Claremont and Sid Kotian’s Gambit #1 revisits a classic ’90s moment. Now writer Roy Thomas returns to pen Marvel’s mutants in X-Men Legends #1. Artist Dave Wachter, colorist Edgar Delgado, and letterer Joe Caramagna join Thomas on this journey through a historic period in comics.
The problem takes place between the events of The Incredible Hulk #181 and Giant Size X-Men #1. It kicks off in a big way as Wolverine and Hulk battle and surprise each other with their jaw-dropping powers and abilities. After a slobbering knocker from a contest, Wolverine is ordered to stand down by Department H. It turns out the agency has a different mission for him, which will require teaming up with the notorious X-Men villain, Jack O’Diamonds.
X-Men Legends #1 tells two separate stories. The first half of the issue, which focuses on the battle between Wolverine and Hulk, is exceptional. Thomas captures the tone and atmosphere of the era, as it looks like it would be the exact interaction between these two sluggers in 1974. However, the second half, where Wolverine and Jack O’Diamonds go on a mission to America, is an endless affair that could have been condensed into fewer pages. The contrast between the rhythm of the two sections is a bit jarring.
Wachter does not seek to imitate the artists of this period. Instead, it applies a modern aesthetic to X-Men Legends #1, though it still pays homage to the past through character costumes and hairstyles that could have been straight out of The Six Million Dollar Man. Wachter also has a fantastic eye for detail in the action scenes, as each panel of the Hulk and Wolverine fight could easily be translated into a poster or trading card. Kaare Andrews’ cover is equally impressive and has all the attributes to make it an instant classic.
Delgado retains the classic color palette of the past; however, the colorist updates it with more shades and contrasts than before. X-Men Legends #1 combines the best of both worlds, looking like an homage to the era but also using advancements in the color department. Caramagna’s dialogue balloons for Jack O’Diamonds deserve a special mention here. It’s an accurate way to indicate the character’s unique speech patterns and leave no doubt as to who is speaking even when Jack is off-panel.
Globally, X-Men Legends #1 is a bit uneven. It starts off promising but falters halfway through – which is slightly disappointing given the premise. While it might not be the hit everyone expected when this series was first announced, there’s still enough to give the reader hope that future issues will be even better.